If you could walk into my house during the Christmas season, there would be no feeling of rush and stress and hectic holidays. There would be a mess, of course, because life with a busy toddler is messy. But Christmas, to me, is meant to be a peaceful time. A time to reflect on Jesus entering the world as a servant. A chance to slow down the merry-go-round of life and enjoy time with family and loved ones. And I try to reflect that in the choices I make in this season.
We have chosen to limit gift giving to immediate family (with a few exceptions) and an extremely low budget, so that our creativity is stretched. I truly love finding just the right gift for each person, and realize every time how much more deeply I’d like to know them. In keeping with the theme of simplicity, I like to wrap gifts in plain brown paper, decorating them with red and white string or ribbon.
Simplicity rules my home decorating, too. We have a tree (our tradition is to add one ornament each year that represents the past year in some way), wreaths on doors and windows, and electric candles in the windows. I also like to put a garland on the picket fence. The mantel over the fireplace will get a little extra attention, but that is about the extent of it. Some of this is my personal style, and some reflects the character of our 130 year old house. Either way, I love the calm atmosphere it provides.
And this simplicity is spilling into every part of my life right now, as I treasure the moments with my almost-two year old Norah and my beloved husband, Evan. It shows up in my menus as I try to cook nourishing (hopefully tasty) meals without sacrificing time to read endless “bookies,” play with blocks, and have pretend tea parties. It shows up in my quiet times, as I read Ephesians and try to grasp what a Christian life should look like. And it fills the room with love and peace as Evan reads aloud, while Norah rubs lotion on my growing “tuppy” where a new little Pederson is being knit together.
I don’t want to take a few stolen minutes out of the hustle and bustle to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. I want to live it. For me, keeping things simple is a good start. Baking cookies for our neighbors is another. Hmm, better keep that simple, too… I think I’ll limit myself to three varieties. If you’d like to try some of our favorites, I recommend the gingersnaps, cocoa snowflakes, and of course, cut-out classic sugar cookies.
A very merry Christmas to you and yours!